When we took our trip to Philadelphia we were blessed to have my Aunt Connie two hours away in Maryland. We stayed with there for Saturday and Sunday and had a wonderful time. We did need to have a place to stay in Philadelphia the night before we were to leave to come home. We were very fortunate to get to stay in the Ronald McDonald House that was right by the Shriner's Hospital. We were hoping to stay there on this visit so we knew if we wanted to try to get our names on the list for when Jadon would perhaps need to come back out for surgery. We did not know what to expect but what we found was far beyond our expectations. This particular House was just built last year. It has fifteen rooms and it is full all the time. When we arrived we had some paperwork to do and then we were given a full tour of the house. We were shown the exercise room for parents, the rec. room for older children complete with a pool table, a fusbol table, and a juke box. There was a game room that housed the Wii, Xbox, and Playstation 3!!! You just had to go to the front desk to sign out the games. Each of the three floors had a community family room with couches and comfy chairs. These areas also had several rocking chairs for rocking babies, baby swings and exersaucer's. The community family room on each floor had a computer with internet access and the whole facility had wireless internet if you had your laptop with you. Each floor also had a laundry room with a couple of washers and dryers for the families who are staying for an extended period of time.
We arrived just in time for dinner which is served by voluteers, usually a family or group who brings in a complete meal for the entire house. The kitchen was open for use 24 hours a day. There were dishes and everything you would need to fix a meal. The only requirement was that you clean up after yourself. There was even a fully stocked pantry (mac n' cheese, spaghetti, etc.)that any guest could use. Any of the juice boxes, milks, etc...in the fridge were also help yourself. There was a great play area for little kids with a dress up area, a grocery store, and a lego area. I wanted to go play!!
When we got to our room we were even more amazed. The rooms were very large. I have included some pictures. There was fridge in each room, a t.v. and dvd player. You could go down to the front desk and they had movies for kids and adults that you could check out. The beds were sleep number beds!! We were excited about that! They even had Pack N' Plays for the babies! Because the facility is almost completely run by volunteers they ask that you vacuum your room, clean your bathroom, and put your towels and linens in a laundry basket before you leave.
We thought that it was a very warm and comfortable place to stay. It was not only the environment and the wonderful staff but just knowing that everyone there was going through something similar to you. We did not know anyone there yet we shared a kinship with them. You felt safe there. All of that for $15 a night! I will always put my change in the Ronald McDonald boxes when I see them. I have also read that when the new addition to the Children's Hospital of Illinios is done it will include a Ronald McDonald House. I am hoping this is still true. I plan to give back. I would consider it an honor to provide meals or any other type of service when it opens. I just wanted to share our experience with you. On this journey my eyes have been opened to many agencies and services that I knew existed prior to this but had never investigated. I am learning that they all play a vital role in supporting the well-being of the families in need and I am amazed.